With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 came a severe economic slump that resulted in a massive drop in energy supply and significantly reduced climate emissions. Germany achieved its climate protection goal for 2020 of 40 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 and recorded an increased share of renewable energies in the electricity sector of around 50 percent. We now know that these successes were merely transitory: as a result of the economic recovery emissions in Germany were back to their 2019 level in 2021 and the climate target was missed – symptomatic of the previous German government’s weak energy policy.
The effects of the pandemic continued to be the focus of the Renewable Energy Hamburg Agency’s efforts in 2021. Many of its planned activities were switched to a virtual format. In the summer, however, it was possible to hold a number of important events, including the tenth award ceremony for the German Renewables Award, the general meeting and the summer party, which was extremely important for a customer network that thrives on face-to-face member activities. Renewable Energy Hamburg once again reached a great many participants far beyond the Hamburg Metropolitan Region thanks to its virtual events.
Most of our cluster’s stakeholders are part of the critical infrastructure, as they provide important products or services for the energy supply sector. Together they managed to guarantee safe and reliable supply in 2021, as well as completing new production facilities. The markets for onshore and offshore wind energy, solar energy and heating appear to have bottomed out during 2021 and are eagerly awaiting announcements from Germany’s new government that reveal significantly greater ambitions for renewable energy supply and climate protection.
In early 2021, Renewable Energy Hamburg received a mandate from the City of Hamburg to develop a new hydrogen economy cluster agency segment within its existing cluster structures. We regarded this as both a great honour and an obligation. We have started to develop this new cluster agency segment with a number of initial face-to-face and digital activities. The extremely positive response we have received is very pleasing: membership has risen from around 180 in 2021 to over 210 at the beginning of 2022, primarily as a result of growth in this segment. A huge vote of confidence that we aim to repay in 2022.
2021 was a pivotal year for Renewable Energy Hamburg due to these new tasks and the general political conditions. The pandemic also remained a stiff challenge, and this difficult situation looks set to continue in 2022. We are nevertheless confident that members and industry stakeholders will again enjoy an attractive programme of activities in 2022. We look forward to lively communication with you!
Yours Jan Rispens